By Ivonne Smith
Question for you: Do you regularly take your car in to get the wheels aligned? Of course you do…when your wheel alignment goes out, it's foolish to overlook the problem. If allowed to drag on, poor alignment can cost you hundreds of dollars, not to mention create a hazardous blowout on the road. Now let’s imagine that your organization is your car and the learning offerings are the wheels that keep the car balanced and moving forward. You, in charge of L&D, are the driver responsible for keeping the learning at your company in alignment.
This is an awesome responsibility, as learning takes place everywhere. Elliott Masie, at Learning 2016, coined the term “learning panorama” stating, “learners are experiencing and expecting a larger and more varied range of content, context, engagement, and experience for any learning objectives.” This “learning panorama” can feel overwhelming as it encompasses so much information everywhere and all the time.
The good news: it has been proven that properly aligning learning and development offerings to business objectives provides your employees with the tools they need to do their jobs better. Essentially, the goal is the alignment trifecta – the right people, the right content, the right time.
Recently, 40% of global employers reported talent shortages. This means that getting the right learning to the right people – FAST – is critical. With this in mind, we asked members of the Skillsoft Global Leader Forum how they stay in synch with their executives and ensure learning aligns strategically to business needs. Skillsoft’s Global Leader Forum is an exclusive group of customers with track records of success in driving engagement, alignment, adoption and value – the four building blocks of learning and talent success. We invite this group to participate in quarterly research around learning and talent topics.
Our 2016 Fall Global Leader Forum research focused on best practices around aligning learning to business objectives. Our leaders shared who, what, why, and how they ensure learning resources are strategically aligned to support business outcomes.
PwC’s 19th annual global CEO survey found that 49% of CEOs are increasing their focus on developing a strong leadership pipeline. Members of Skillsoft's Global Leader Forum see the value in this shift—they’re targeting business skills and management/leadership skills as their top content categories. Additionally, with 43% of Skillsoft’s Global Leader Forum members meeting regularly with executives about L&D, they surpass the market average—36% of organizations work with organizational leaders to identify business performance indicators they want to improve.
According to Towards Maturity’s latest In-Focus Report, “Aligning Learning to Business,” 39% of L&D professionals are not confident that their learning activities actually support the skills the business needs. No surprise to us when we learned that 94% of the members of Skillsoft's Global Leader Forum report that their learners are aware of the alignment between content and corporate goals.
A first cousin to alignment, without a doubt, is content curation. With this in mind, we learned from recent Bersin by Deloitte research that, for the first time, the role of content curation is a formal part of the L&D role. In fact 8% of L&D's time is spent managing the learning portfolio and curating content. Skillsoft Global Leader Forum members go further, focusing on personalization in addition to content curation. Our Forum members say that obtaining leadership support of L&D and dedicating time for aligning learning resources are critical in paving the way for a program that aligns to real business needs.
As you contemplate whether your “learning wheels” are aligned within your organization, you may want to ask yourself a few questions:
- Is your L&D team aligning to business objectives?
- How are you leveraging your eLearning library to address issues keeping your CEO up at night?
- How often are you meeting with your C-level executives to ensure your eLearning content is meeting business needs?
- How are you effectively communicating L&D’s strategic alignment and impact on corporate goals to your learners?
- How well have you equipped your L&D team and systems to curate and recommend specific content?
- Is your learning content mapped into the performance appraisal process?
- Have you dedicated time in your planning and obtained sufficient leadership support of your L&D programs?
These are important questions…and honestly should be reviewed regularly to keep your learning programs aligned, your organization driving forward, and your employees equipped to succeed.
Review the infographic below to see how our Global Leader Forum experts keep their learning programs strategically aligned.